The Single Most Transformative Force in Leadership
The single most transformative force in leadership is a conversation.
Conversations with leaders, authors, and coaching clients changed me most in 2016. It’s that way every year.
We grow in community, not isolation.
I was fortunate to have conversations with several authors in 2016. Here’s a sampling.
#1. The Outward Mindset – Seeing Beyond Ourselves, The Arbinger Institute.
Transformative insight: Humility stays intensely curious about people.
If you want to be humble, stay curious about people. The seduction of providing answers often short-circuits curiosity.
Our need to have answers blocks curiosity, hinders connection, and limits exploration.
Mitchell Warner gives a nutshell summary of the book in five minutes.
#2. Winning Well, Karin Hurt and David Dye.
Transformative insight: Relational accountability comes from a position of support, rather than gotcha.
3 steps to delegating so nothing falls through the cracks:
- Establish a clear outcome, not the process. Delegating the process is micromanaging.
- Set a clear deadline.
- The magic of delegation: have a meeting where the project is handed back.
This is the only video interview I posted in 2016.
#3. The Go-Giver Leader, Bob Burg and John David Mann.
Transformative insight: “You can lead only as far as you grow.”
Let go the idea that you already understand. “Go-Giver Leaders take responsibility to understand where others are coming from and clarify where they are coming from.” Bob Burg
5 practices of Go-Giver Leaders:
- Don’t get it backwards: don’t start thinking you’re the deal.
- Great leadership is never about the leader.
- Great leadership is about holding people up.
- The best way to increase your influence is to give it away.
- The more you give, the more you have.
Why Are There Snowblowers in Miami, Steven Goldstein
That’s Not How We Do it Here, John Kotter
DEALSTORMING: The Secret Weapon That Can Solve Your Toughest Sales Challenges, Tim Sanders
What conversations in 2016 had a transformative impact on your leadership journey?
Good article on this in Chief Learning Officer Magazine, May 2016 page 50 – http://www.clomedia-digital.com/read-clo/may_2016?pg=51#pg51 about DDI research on same. Bridging facilitation skills into asking and listening skills is hugely useful in generating the engagement and innovation organizations need.
You are presenting one powerful lesson today. Although, in one sense, it might be semantics, I would express it as conversation is the tool by which one primarily “sees beyond ourselves” or experiencing “transformative insight”. Although I understand the concepts you presented, it was exciting to learn in more detail things I can do/strive to become in my daily life.
As I was reading this, I thought, you must know my grandmother. She lived “staying intensely curious about people.” When she met someone she wanted to know their story. Where they were from, who their people were, etc., etc. She started with the premise that you were related, you were part of the family. She grew up “dirt poor.” A “house” with dirt floors. She was poor, but one would never get that idea from her. She was rich beyond measure and her attitude and outlook on life expressed it.
Thanks, again, for a powerful and transforming message.
Dan – Thank you for this. I keep reading about how social media is replacing conversations and we are loosing our ability to have great conversations. This is very sad for many reasons so thank you for highlighting a skill that is critical for all of us – the ability to have a meaningful conversation with another.
I love the insight here, I’ve been taking on projects lately that have forced me to take up more and more leadership duties. The insight from “the go-giver” was great. I really have to check it out.
It’s an interesting line we have to balance between inquiry/curiosity and direction. In my experience it’s frustrating for employees who have been “directed” in the past to learn the inquiry style.
Hi Dan. This blog post hits the nail on the head. Leadership is about cooperation with others not managing them. I have a blog site focusing on Finding happiness and success, I would love to hear your opinion on it. Any ideas on how I might improve it would be greatly welcome. Keep up the good work.